Saturday 26 September 2020

British population in NL grows by 10,000 since Brexit vote, and more are going Dutch

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The number of British nationals in the Netherlands taking Dutch nationality topped 2,500 last year, ahead of the December 31 Brexit deadline, figures from national statistics agency CBS show.

And up to July 2020, a further 666 British nationals have become Dutch – with over  80% taking the ‘optie‘ route, which enables them to retain their British nationality as well, the agency told DutchNews.nl.

The Netherlands is now home to some 95,174 people with British nationality, of whom 54,666 are first generation migrants, according to figures from the national statistics office CBS.

This is a rise of more than 10,000 on the British population in the Netherlands in June 2016, ahead of the Brexit referendum.  By contrast, the size of the German and Belgian populations in the Netherlands have both gone down over the same period.

In June, senators voted in favour of new legislation which will allow Dutch nationals living in Britain to retain their Dutch nationality if they have to become British, to ensure their residency rights are respected.

The law means Dutch nationals who already live in the UK can apply for a British passport without having to renounce their Dutch nationality – if the final withdrawal agreement means their residency rights worsen.

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The draft legislation originally offered the same deal to British nationals in the Netherlands, but that idea was dropped because there was not enough support in parliament.

British nationals who do not have a permanent Dutch partner and are under the age of 65 have to give up their British nationality to become Dutch.

The government pledged in its 2017 coalition agreement to take steps to change the Dutch rules on dual nationality but has not yet published any recommendations.

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